First place in the Global Competitiveness Index 2015-2016 (GCI) rankings published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), for the seventh consecutive year, goes to Switzerland. Its strong performance in all 12 pillars of the index explains its remarkable resilience throughout the crisis and subsequent shocks. Singapore remains in 2nd place and the United States 3rd. Germany improves by one place to 4th and the Netherlands returns to the 5th place it held three years ago. Japan (6th) and Hong Kong SAR (7th) follow, both stable. Finland falls to 8th place – its lowest position ever – followed by Sweden (9th). The United Kingdom rounds up the top 10 of the most competitive economies in the world.
The report is an annual assessment of the factors driving productivity and prosperity in 140 countries. This year’s edition found a correlation between highly competitive countries and those that have either withstood the global economic crisis or made a swift recovery from it. The failure, particularly by emerging markets, to improve competitiveness since the recession suggests future shocks to the global economy could have deep and protracted consequences.
The report’s Global Competitiveness Index also finds a close link between competitiveness and an economy’s ability to nurture, attract, leverage and support talent. The top-ranking countries all fare well in this regard. But in many countries, too few people have access to high-quality education and training, and labour markets are not flexible enough.